Party Planning - McKinley's Turning Seven

Monday, March 26, 2018

I am at it again! Party planning. I'm telling ya, it's one of my favorite things on earth. That, and updating my house! I've been on a roll in the kitchen, with just a few more things to do, and then I will share the update with the world! Or, with the few of you who read this blog. But as I wait for those final touches, I am planning McKinley's seventh birthday party. I can't believe he will be seven it two weeks. 

It's getting harder and harder to come with up a birthday party theme. When he was little, it was all about Sesame Street or his favorite Disney show/character. Last year it was a bowling party and we thought about a skating one this year, but decided to keep it at home. But then what do you do to entertain a mix of seven year old boys and girls for a couple of hours? As I was poking around Pinterest, looking for boy birthday party ideas, it hit me. A painting party! McKinley is so into art right now. He loves to draw, color, paint, and craft, so a painting party seemed to be the best option. And, I think it will be so much fun watching the kids create their own individual masterpiece. So what do you do at a painting party and how do you prep for one? Well let me tell you!

We have purchased blank white canvases. You can't create a masterpiece if you don't have a canvas. I headed to Michael's and got a 10 pack of canvases for little of nothing. They are 8X10 which I think is a perfect size. Each child will have their own space at the kitchen table to create. We thought about having a little easel per kid, but decided they can just paint with it laying down flat. I think it will crowd the table otherwise. We have aprons for each child and I will write their names on each one and have them at their work space. From Amazon, we ordered paint palettes and I will add paint to each slot. I'm going with primary colors only. No need to get crazy. And I got a huge pack of paint brushes for them to share. I will also have cups of water for rinsing and towels to clean their brushes. It's going to be so much fun!

Because it's in the middle of the afternoon, I plan to serve colorful snacks. Fruit in rainbow colors, colorful Goldfish, and possibly veggies or cheese. And maybe a fun punch! However, I don't really want red stains all over the carpet.... We'll have cake for sure, and if I can get my act together, sugar cookies in the shape of paint palettes as a take home gift. And because it's a theme not used very often, I'm getting creative with my decor and accents. For instance, we like to have candles on his cake that go with the theme of the party. Well, have you been able to find paint brush candles? Yeah, we haven't either. So, I'm going to take a tip from Maria Provenzano and make my own birthday candles! Check out the how-to video here. I just love the idea of making my own candles that go with the theme of the party. Especially with how cute the cake is going to be. I can't wait to get started!

Oh, and there will be a photo wall! I can't quite figure out how I want it to look, or how I'm going to make it work, but I have the cutest props for the kids to use when taking pics. I'm thinking as they come in, or after they've painted and we're transitioning from art to cake, but honestly it all depends on how the day is going! It's hard to plan something like this. Here are some of the ideas I've found. I'm also thinking of taking a plain white cloth, splattering it with paint, and then hanging it over a wall. We could make a large picture frame that the kids could stand behind, but it could be just as cute with the splatter paint background. We shall see.

I think I'm more excited about the party ideas than McKinley. If he had his choice, we would be hanging out at the local trampoline place in town. However, the more I talk up the fun things I've planned, he's getting a little more excited. He's just happy to be having his friends over and talking all about the fun things they're going to play after the party is over. For that, I've got some ideas of my own. If it's a nice afternoon, early April can be dicey, I'm thinking the driveway will make the perfect palette for some sidewalk chalk fun. A little hopscotch, Monster Jam obstacle courses, and any other idea they can think of that allows them to use their imagination. I love watching little minds at work!

So, what do you think of the idea of painting party? A crafting party would be super fun too. So many ways to get your child creating. Those little minds can dream up wonders, no?

Happy Monday!

All photos courtesy of Pinterest.

Be Free

Monday, March 19, 2018

On this rainy Monday morning, we are getting back in the swing of things after being on Spring Break last week ! I love having the time off from the daily grind, but it's so hard to get back in the groove. Thank goodness for coffee and a full DVR! However, I may not get anything truly done.

We spent last week doing all the things we could possibly do in a week! We kicked off the break with heading to Union Station, McKinley's favorite place on earth, taking advantage of all of the fun things to do. And it was all about trains! We started with the train tour at Science City where McKinley wanted to show me the train museum he finally discovered. He is able to play on a BNSF locomotive and use the controls inside the engine. Heaven for him! There are other fun train cars to explore and we did just that. We then headed to the beloved model train exhibit, a fun activity that doesn't cost you a thing! A free to the public exhibit that allows you to explore towns of the past while watching train after train ride the rails! 

We spent some time in Crown Center as well. McKinley had a blast in Funville, a free to the public exhibit that allows kids to explore the world of different occupations. So much to do, see, and play with inside this room of wonder. He loved it so much we went twice! Speaking of free, we also headed over to Kaleidoscope where McKinley was the most creative he's ever been during a visit. Kaleidoscope is provided by Hallmark and it allows children to be creative and use their imagination when constructing things out of scraps of paper, tape, markers, stickers, and more. McKinley made a kite out of tissue paper, curling ribbon, tape, and St. Patrick's Day stickers. He also made a truck out of card stock circles and scrapes of green paper. It was so much fun to watch him create! 

While we were out and about, taking advantage of the free things the city offers, I was constantly on guard. You know, holding McKinley's hand 90% of the time. Telling him not to run ahead too far. Asking him to stay within ear shot when we're using the restroom that's not a family one. Telling him to look both ways when crossing the street. Stay where he is when we're in a parking lot until I can get all my stuff out of the car. There is never a moment for him to just be free! With tons of people all around, I'm not about to let him out of sight or out of my reach. The unfortunate truth is that society has caused me to be a little more on edge, a little less carefree, and a lot more protective. Some might call it overprotective or being a "helicopter mom". I just called it being a mom. 

When we headed to the river that past week, free takes on a whole different meaning. As my dad mentioned, McKinley is free to do whatever he wants. He doesn't have to hold anyone's hand, unless he simply wants to. He doesn't have to ask if he can run ahead and be out of reach. He can come and go out the back door as often as he wants, shutting it with a bang behind him. He can roam the backyard, play in the truck bed, dig for whatever he can find, run up and down the river bank, however I will shout "don't get too close to the water's edge" from time to time. I don't want him falling in fully clothed in March. Summer will be a different story. 

I would love to allow him more space to be free. I told my mom this weekend that I wish we had a little more land to allow for badminton games, batting practice, Frisbee throwing, and exploring. Instead, we have enough yard for gardening where he can dig in the dirt and search for worms and other insects. A spot for his sandbox where he creates amazing construction sites and Monster Jam arenas. He has a swing set that serves as a fort, drive-thru restaurant, and picnic area. He can mow the lawn, drive his tractor, play with bubbles, have a picnic, jump in his bouncy house and swim in his bouncy swimming house. So he has free rein of the backyard, it's just not as vast as the one the river house provides. 

For now, at almost age seven, McKinley's free to play whatever comes to his creative mind. Whether it's a Matchbox cars junk yard, being the "cooking guy" in his kitchen and serving up some of the best wooden food around, playing trains, using sidewalk chalk in the driveway to make elaborate cities or solar systems, or just sit with a pad of blank paper and draw until his hearts content. That's the thing about being free. You're are free to be whatever you want to be or do whatever you want to do. Just be free!


Den Gallery Wall

Friday, March 9, 2018

Hello fellow readers! Yes, again, it's been a long time. February wasn't much better than January. There was flu and pneumonia that hit our house and we were sick three out of the fourish weeks of the month. But, spring is on its way and I am hoping for blue skies ahead!

And with spring comes spring cleaning, and in my case, new house updates all around! It all started with a segment on Home and Family. Ken Wingard introduced a gallery wall in their family room on their set and I immediately needed to create one in my own home. I have this wall above our couch in the den that I never noticed was so bare. Yes, there is a framed piece that we've had for years, but it just needed something more. And Ken's gallery was the inspiration.

His design tips were amazing! My mom came with the assist by visiting local craft stores and scooping up some amazing finds. But the biggest find is the rustic clock. I found several that I liked, but they ranged in price from $50-$100. Not really within my price range. That is, until we hit Savers. We found this clock for $7! Talk about style for a steal! And I commissioned my dad to great a custom piece as well. And when I say commissioned, I asked him if he would take pictures down on the Plaza so I could hang it in my den! I love it! It's perfect! The rest of the pieces are somewhat personal. The K is for our last name and the small scale tobacco basket is an homage to my great grandparents who were tobacco farmers. And I just loved the vintage style window. Much like one from an old farm house.

Ken suggested to cut out your pieces on paper first and then hang them on the wall. In doing so, you won't be creating nail holes that you don't need. Genius, right? So that's exactly what I did. It was such a time saver and my husband thought we should just leave the paper. What a kidder! We placed the framed photo first and then added the clock to the other side for balance. The smaller pieces were exactly what the center needed. 

Then it was time to hang! And when your husband is home on a Friday, and your child is in school, it's the perfect time to get it done.

And here is the finished project! I am obsessed with it! It truly finishes the room and fills the space. Something that really needed to be done. 


I'm thinking of creating a gallery wall in McKinley's room of all of his artwork from school. Okay, not all the pieces, but the ones that he really took his time creating. We have several, and now that I'm armed with such amazing tips, I'm ready to tackle his room!

What do you think of the gallery wall? Is this something you would create? What pieces would be perfect for your room?

Have a great weekend!

electric toothbrush